Charm Me

June 22, 2013
2:30 p.m.

It’s 86° in the shade, and 81° in the house. The central air isn’t working.

Rich brings the motorcycle up to the house, and we get ready to go. I further insulate an Imageinsulated cup filled with ice water, grab my mp3 player and my sunglasses, and we’re out the door.

“Where to?” Rich asks.

“Take me to Charm,” I tell him. “I’ve never been to Charm.”

Charm is a small Amish town, and as this is my first time out on the motorcycle this year, I want to ride through some of my favorite country.

It feels wonderful to have the hot sun on my face and the wind whipping through my hair again. Traffic isn’t heavy, and we take our time enjoying the beautiful scenery.

After riding for about an hour and fifteen minutes, we arrive in Charm. We stop and get off the bike at Guggisberg Cheese. We don’t go in to see if there are cheese samples, but we do take a couple of pictures. Rich is armed with an iPhone. I have a little Bloggie in my hand.


Enter here for cheese!


The mailbox for the cheese plant.

My hair isn’t terribly tangled, and I silently thank my cream rinse for doing its job.

A group of motorcycle riders passes us. Not a single person is wearing a helmet. We’ve probably seen over one hundred riders today, and maybe six people were wearing helmets. If we ever have an accident and die because we weren’t wearing ours, you must write in your blogs, “Well, at least they died doing something they loved.”

The Amish are friendly. When we drive through the area in a car, they never look at us or wave. However, when we are on the motorcycle, men nod, boys wave, little girls smile, and even women relaxing in chairs under the shade of a tree will wave and smile as we go by. I wonder why that is? I find it incredibly enjoyable.

ImageThere are no ice cream cones or sundaes today, but that doesn’t keep us from having to watch where we step. Horse manure is plentiful in parking lots and along roadways.

By the time we get home, my bum is numb. Maybe we stayed out a little too long on my first day, but it was worth it.


How’s your summer going so far? We’ve had rain, rain, and more rain. Some of it has been in the kitchen and in the basement. A nice man sledgehammered our old cement porch at the back door and hauled it away. Rich is now building a deck for me. A new place to write! I’m woefully behind with reading blogs, but I have been productive by trying to write two books at once: Susan Hunter and her misadventures in Canada – as well as the two sisters and their efforts to solve a murder. Despite the rain, I think summer is coming along just fine.

93 thoughts on “Charm Me

  1. No helmets . . . Ok, the engineer in me cringes, but I am a big believer in personal choice and responsibility. For instance, just recently I read of four people dying in a car crash, and felt an immediate sadness . . . then I read they died because they were ejected from the car . . . because they were not wearing seatbelts. My sadness turned into . . . meh.

    I mean, I rather they did not die, but if they did not care enough about their own lives, why should I?

    As for the rest, sorry about the air . . . I don’t miss memories of hot days and nights without respite from the humidity and heat. And . . . what!?! you did not go in to get some fresh cheese curd? Aww, man . . .

    • I wore a helmet in my youth, and when our son was young, I refused to ride a motorcycle at all. It has only been since he achieved adulthood that I choose to ride without a helmet. I don’t think I would ride if our laws changed to require them. I like that we have a choice.

      It was brutal without the air for nearly a week! And the cheese … we’ve had some fun adventures in the Amish cheese houses. 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh so beautiful so jealous what a day! Used to visit Penn dutch country all the time when lived in nj. Grew up wishing I was Amish. Seemed so quaint and peaceful and everyone knows their place and future. A calmer routine filled life. At least that’s how I saw it.
    winter here but last few days have been sunny and over 20c so quite nice. Not much happening tho. I feel like a motorbike without petrol!

    • I hate not blogging, but I can’t seem to blog and write at the same time … plus there is so much other “stuff” going on with the house – all turning out good though. I’ve been tempted to drop an email to you to see how things are going with your book and fill you in my latest hare-brained ideas, but time slips away … and I don’t want to intrude. Hope you are well, Tim!

  3. Helloooooo Maddie!!!! Hey if you and Rich love riding without a helmet so be it. But if you guys get killed in an accident I’m gonna break your neck!!! haha! Ok maybe not. It’s been rainy here to. In fact we just got a storm about an hour ago. Just what we need too, the roof isn’t fixed yet. Sighhhh. Have fun catching up. I’ll chat real soon. 🙂 xxx

    • I know this will sound lame (because anything can happen), but Rich is an extremely cautious driver. I can relax and almost go to sleep on the bike, where he is always watching every move of every driver around us and calculating/anticipating what they might do and what he will do. It’s not nearly as relaxing for him as it is for me, but I am confident he will keep us safe. I’m not ready to go anywhere yet; I have books to write!! Sorry about your roof. You should see my kitchen ceiling! It isn’t pretty!

      • I’m a firm believer that if it’s your time, it’s your time no matter what you do. So you might as well enjoy life! And yes you have books to write and I have them to read! I understand completely about your kitchen ceiling, my bedroom ceiling is looking might pitiful.

  4. Every time I see a man and woman whip by on their motorcycles, I wonder if it’s you and your hubby. At least you know I’m thinking of you. (But in my mind, I fit you with a helmet… 😉 )

    • If this rain ever gives us a break, we might ride north more often this year. So you may see us one day (even if you don’t know it’s us). Thanks for thinking of me, and I know you would fit me with a helmet. 😉

  5. You’re better than me, Maddie. I would be complaining non-stop with no AC until it was repaired/replaced.
    Unlike most people, I dread summer. You do make it sound so lovely, though.

    The Amish live such an interesting life. I was always fascinated and puzzled by them as a child.
    Glad you’re having a pleasant summer!
    Happy writing!

    • I love your new avatar! I think dropping some weight made the heat more tolerable, because last year it nearly killed me! I’ve never been able to write outside before, and I can’t wait until the deck is done. If the bugs don’t get me, I’m going to spend most of my fall out there for sure. 🙂 I know you don’t enjoy summer, but hope you and your family are finding ways to enjoy your days.

      I absolutely love going out to the shops in the Amish villages. People are so nice, and the food is pretty great, too!

    • Thank you, Paula! It wasn’t even two weeks ago that I dragged Rich outside and told him we had to do something about that deteriorating porch. One little conversation turned into some big work for him as he completed a lot of projects around the perimeter of the house. The property is looking so much better. I can’t wait until the deck is done. He’s ready to put the posts in, and he’s going to build it by himself! I’ll post pictures when it’s done. 🙂

    • I’m so glad to hear your head survived. A broken elbow? Yikes, that must have been painful. I suppose I might have a false sense of security when it feels like we’re riding around in an easy chair. I do love it though.

      • Yeah, it only takes one person to be able to do something stupid quicker than you can stop or avoid it. The elbow was a disappointment at the time, I was hoping to go home but got a nice stay in hospital instead 😦

  6. Winter here. A couple of weeks ago we had three mornings in a row that were -5 C. We’ve never had that before. Every winter we might get a couple of days that drop below zero but never a cold stretch like that. It’s times like this I wonder why I choose to ride my pushie to the station very morning!

    • Hi, Maddie–I just finished “Sunshine Hunter.” I loved it. I’ll have a review posted on Amazon and Goodreads in a little bit. I think the cab driver who gave Susan the free cab ride when she lost her purse is my friend Greg a/k/a Jay Galloway — LOL.

    • Richard, I had to look up a pushie. That’s what we do to our cars when they break down. 😉 Brrr .. yes, -5 C is cold! Our weather has become so inconsistent. We can be in the deep freeze one winter, and mild the next. Last summer was blistering hot and dry, this one mild and wet. I suppose I like having the extremes of all the seasons though. You’re almost to the halfway point of your winter. Hold on a while longer!

      • Yeah, pushie = bike with no motor. Powered by human breathing non-frozen air! I really love my gloves. Pity my glasses freeze over before I get to where I’m going. It’s all good fun!

    • Michelle, you are so sweet. I’ve missed reading you lately, but I’ve noticed that now that I’m eating healthier, I’m getting up much earlier. I hope to get a better handle on writing time vs blogging time this coming week.

    • It would have been too hot to buy cheese that day and put it in the bike, so we didn’t go in, but I do enjoy the cheese houses. There is really quite a lot to do and see in the Amish villages, so it’s no wonder there is so much tourism out that way. I like that you and I were in the same parking lot once. 😉

  7. What a wonderful day you must have had, Maddie 😀 I can just imagine you and Rich scooting down the highway with the wind in your hair and smiling all the way! It puts a smile on my face 😀

    I’m finding it difficult to keep up with blogging at the moment and I haven’t even started writing yet! I’m still working on the house (I’ve gone from doors to windows) and next thing I’ll be doing is plastering (I might hire myself out as a handyman after this – I could have sledgehammered your old cement porch) LOL 😀

    • Dianne, there is no doubt in my mind that you could have sledgehammered that porch! 🙂 Rich is out there right now with a post hole digger. He has already encountered an underground drain pipe and an electric wire!

      I can’t wait to see pictures of your work. I bet those windows will be beautiful. Plastering might be fun. 😉

  8. Seems you had a good ride on a good day … so cheers to your effort … and for a safe return!

    An interesting summer for me with a variety of encounters. A bit too soggy of late, but it will be back to striping the deck in the morning.

    • Is that what we have to look forward to? Stripping the deck in the future? 🙂 I’m just so glad to be getting one. I never was one for sitting on the old cement porch. I’ll be loving this deck.

      It has been terrible here with rain. It rains EVERY day. They’re calling for off and on rain for us all this coming week as well. Sigh.

  9. Sounds like a Charm kind of day…and spending it with your best friend – the only way to go! At least your summer temp is not over in the 100+ degree mark…ahh, lazy days of summer. Love it!! ❤ All the best with your books…

  10. Oh dear Susan, humidity without air con, but out on the bike with the breeze in your hair would certainly help. Is it legal to ride without a helmet? Over here you get a $50 fine if you don’t have one on when riding your pushbike

    • The bike certainly does feel good on a hot, humid day. We used to have mandatory helmet laws here, but they were repealed. I’m only required to wear eye protection, and sunglasses are just fine. It looks like the coming weekend will be hot and sunny. We will ride! 🙂

      • I hate wearing a helmet on my push bike, Jack actually flouts the law and refuses to wear his helmet, it will spoil his hair style….

        I did get caught once about 10 years ago and was fined $30 back then.

        Enjoy your weekend ride 🙂

  11. I’ve been trying to reply via my cellphone, but I’ve been in a place that has lousy reception — but wonderful atmosphere. The north woods of Wisconsin bring a relaxing tinge to a hectic life. I love that you spend time outdoors too, squeezing in writing when you can. That’s about all you can do when you are a multi faceted diamond like you!

    • The north woods of Wisconsin sounds divine! I have been so excited that Rich is building a deck. I’ve never written outside before, and I’m excited to give it a try. I think it will be wonderful in the fall. … Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  12. I LOVE your idea of wrapping the cup in foil, can you really tell the difference? I always worry when I see someone riding without a helmet. Where I grew up they would say “their goes an organ donor”, so you must wear a helmet Maddie!!! Great job on writing 2 books at once, I’m going to try to work on my book next week. My goal is to have it about 90% done by the end of the week. And no I haven’t even started it, I only have lots of notes. I hope you and Rich are enjoying the summer.

    • Rita Kay, that cup still had cold water in it over an hour later, so the foil really made a difference. It was heavy duty foil and wrapped double around the cup. The ice had melted, but the water was still cold. Good for you working on your book – it keeps you off of your knees. 😉 Our summer has been interesting. The excitement of the deck helps us tolerate the rain more. Nice tip on the flavored ice cubes!

    • I hope you do, Donna Jean! I can’t believe we have only been out *once* this year. The rain has been never-ending. We have a forecast for dry weather for this weekend. I’m hoping we can get out again. Let me know if you do go! 🙂

  13. Sounds like you are having a good summer.., except for the ac. The deck sounds nice. My last major project was building a deck. I love it. I never write or draw but I do sit out there and make jewelry when the weather is nice. Sometimes I just sit out there and watch the squirrels.

    • Hi, Bo! I’m sorry I haven’t been by, but I will soon. Summer has been good so far (except for the rain I keep whining about). I can’t wait for my deck. I’ll have squirrels and birds to watch, too. I told Rich when he is done with that deck, he’ll need to work on one more. Our old house has a porch on the front, and a little side porch and door (mid-house) facing the same direction. When the house was built at the turn of the century, there was a wrap-around porch from front to side. I think he should put a new wrap-around deck out there. One deck for him, the bigger one for me. 😉

  14. We don’t have a motorcycle but hubby sure wants one. I said when the house is finished. 😉 LOL It was 118 here yesterday! Stayed inside. Getting ready to head to cooler weather up north in South Dakota for some fun camping! At least I hope the heat don’t follow us. 🙂 Good luck on writing your novels!

    • 118!! That’s pretty rough. I would stay inside, too. Have a wonderful time camping. We’ll be taking a drive to Texas in August, and that will surely not be cool. 🙂 Thanks for the well-wishes; good luck with your editing!

  15. I love that mailbox at the cheese place. Sounds like a fun ride! Motorcycles scare me, but Mr. Weebles wants one very badly. I guess people are more inclined to wave when you’re on a bike because you’re more exposed and visible, it’s easier to connect with people than when you’re in an enclosed car. Hope you’re staying cool and that the central air gets fixed. It’s 95 degrees here and 95% humidity, and if it weren’t for the A/C, I’d probably be dead. Or at least, really really cranky.

    • That mailbox is a hoot. It really fits the area though. Maybe you’re right about the visible and exposed on the motorcycle. Our A/C adventures continue. Big storm yesterday took a huge tree down in the block behind us and it took power lines with it. Our 220 line was ripped out, so we have no stove or A/C, and most of the electricity is out in the house – but – there is electric at my desk for my computer and tv, and at my husband’s desk for his computer and tv, and the refrigerator works! No other electricity in the house whatsover. Now that is a miracle. Stay cool and not cranky, Madame Weebles! 🙂

  16. Maddie, I don’t get the impression that you need a deck to write. I suspect that put you anywhere with a laptop on your lap and you’d be off and running. Having said that, I believe that those who are lucky enough to have a handyman husband should be encouraging said husbands to hone those handyman skills. And ps, Maddie, those of us who have the heater running day and night do not appreciate your complaining about the heat. And ps 2, it’s illegal in Australia not to wear helmets, just as it’s illegal not to wear a seat belt. Funny thing, I remember when the seat belt law came in. For at least a year, I felt funny about wearing my seatbelt, these days I feel funny and unsafe not wearing them. I would rather be saying, ‘Well, at least they [lived] doing something they loved.’ 🙂

    • Hahaha! You are the best, Mary! I don’t need a deck, but am so delighted to get one, and hope I will be able to write out there. I was scribbling in a notebook again this week when my mother was in the grocery store, so I know I can write pretty much anywhere. I actually think there will be less distractions on the deck than at my computer.

      Rich is a jack of all trades. The man can do anything. It’s a real blessing. Now if he could just get a ladder and put back that electric line that was ripped out of our house yesterday in a storm, he would really be my hero.

      Point taken on the heat. 🙂

      It used to be illegal here to ride without helmets, but the law was changed many years ago. I think there must have been a terrible outcry, because the law was changed in most states. I’m sure you will believe me when I say that I have only just begun to wear my seat belt about two weeks ago. I know! I’m such a rebel. But the fines for not wearing your seat belt start at around $75 and the police are enforcing them now. You’re right. It feels funny. 🙂

  17. Sounds like a lovely day, definitely better than sitting at home in the heat! 🙂 Charm is a nice name for a town, and I like that mailbox too – so cute.

    My summer has been busy, busy, busy. And not in a good way. Mostly I’ve been drowning in work and haven’t had time to do anything fun. =[

    • Now that you are writing games, I suspect you are having fun at work, yes? 🙂 I’d have to say that we haven’t had much fun this year either. With Rich working on the deck as much as possible, and then all the rain, we’ve only been out on the bike once! Maybe it’s just as well (you know, the helmet thing).

  18. Numb Bum… I like that! Hopefully you’ve recovered. Yes, summer has arrived here. The best on in about 10 years, I think! I hope yours has improved as well! 😉

    • So glad your summer is going so well, AJ! The rain has finally given us a break, and the deck is coming along swimmingly. If only we could get out on that motorcycle more! Maybe this fall.

  19. Hi Maddie,

    Glad to hear you had a nice ride to Charm. All is well over here in the north country but it’s getting a little hot and humid.

    I, like you stated, am a bit behind on my blog reading…catching up a bit this weekend though.


  20. I think my favorite part was how the Amish swept up the horse manure and put it in your motorcycle saddlebags when you weren’t looking.

    Yes, I think I’d stop and buy some cheese next time, if I were you… : P

    Writing on your new deck, sippin’ an iced tea and eating cold bacon– yup, gonna be nice… : )

    • Mark, you continue to be my most favorite commenter! You always leave me feeling good and/or laughing. Horse manure in my saddlebags … hahaha! You are a dear. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hey, lookie here! A dangling comment from July. I’ve let a few slip through the cracks. We did get that a/c fixed, and now I have my sights set on fixing the furnace before it gets really cold. It’s always something when you own a house – especially an old one! 🙂

  21. Hi Marsha! Nothing like responding to a July comment in October! 🙂 There used to be mandatory helmet laws in Ohio, but I think the masses rose up and managed to get the law overturned. We didn’t ride much this year, but we still had a wonderful summer. I hope yours was fantastic as well! 🙂

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